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July 31, 2018
Life sciences innovation in the cloud
By: Joe Donahue

More and more life sciences companies see the cloud as a way of doubling down on innovation.

Cloud computing is gaining a foothold in life sciences. Recent research from IDG shows that life sciences companies have already migrated more than one third of their IT infrastructure and application workloads, and we envision this trend continuing to grow as more companies understand the benefits of working in the cloud and develop migration paths to get there confidently.

What’s most interesting is why this is happening in life sciences now. In other industries, cost-effective data storage and accelerated time to market are the primary drivers. Life sciences organizations, however, see leveraging expertise and the ability to focus resources on innovation as the top benefits of migrating to the cloud.

The agility that the cloud brings to the process of experimentation makes it an ideal fit for life sciences. Because it offers companies the ability to scale up infrastructure, informatics and analytics capabilities on-demand rather than wait for large traditional IT deployments, it makes it possible for companies to move from idea, to experimentation, to large-scale deployment with unprecedented speed.

#LifeSciences more & more embrace the #cloud not just for cost savings, but as way to double down on #innovation:


In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that the cloud is now a cornerstone of innovation. It offers a level of flexibility and processing power that most companies simply can’t replicate on-premises. And it’s paving the way for next-level data analytics, the real-time analysis of vast datasets and the use of machine learning and other forms of AI. The result: new correlations uncovered and drug discovery efforts being accelerated like never before.

Additionally, a cloud migration can act as a catalyst for a broader business transformation. By enabling the standardization of processes and the breaking down of internal siloes, the cloud can help teams collaborate better. It’s also a critical staging post for the expanding R&D ecosystem, facilitating external partnerships that support the development of innovative therapies and new drug discoveries.

The life sciences industry is understandably excited about the cloud, but there are still challenges to overcome. A majority of companies told IDG they are grappling with cost management and integrating data security. Others cited the difficulties in attracting talent with the right skills—particularly in the areas of security integration, vendor management and risk management, which are all in high demand.

Fortunately, these challenges are far from insurmountable, particularly as life sciences companies reorganize their internal IT teams around the cloud. DevOps , for example, is now widespread in the industry, with almost one in five companies using DevOps exclusively for all projects. It’s a practice that’s already having a positive impact. Companies who have implemented DevOps were more likely to tell IDG that collaboration between their IT and software development teams is “very good.”

Other life sciences organizations are gaining major benefits from external partnerships, particularly for security integration. Many are also using employee education, including promoting the benefits of working anywhere at any time, to smooth the path to cloud acceptance.

As life sciences companies overcome the remaining challenges, they’re transforming their innovation and discovery capabilities. Thanks to the cloud, what was once laborious and expensive is now agile, faster and less expensive, and having a positive impact to both the organizations—and the patients they serve.

You can read more about why life sciences companies are embracing cloud—and the challenges they face in doing so—in our white paper.

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